Bring the Whole Family to the Mountains for Plenty of Wholesome Fun

Pack the car, grab the kids and head for the mountains! Not only do we have lots of great outdoor activities, but we have several fun parks, the Indian Village, the Outdoor Drama "Unto These Hills," the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and train excursions on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Wholesome fun for all ages.

Rainy day? There's still plenty to do in the Smokies. Click here for suggestions (pdf).

Fun, Family Activities

Swain County Heritage Museum


2 Everett Street

Bryson City, NC 28713

Phone 828-488-7857

Swain County Heritage Museum Located in the 1908 historic courthouse in downtown Bryson City, the museum tells the story of Swain County and its people. Through photos, exhibits and video you will learn about the life of early settlers; and how the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Dam rewrote the landscape and changed lives. You will enjoy seeing the restored log cabin porch, the 1887 church organ and one-room schoolhouse desks, and children's activity area among other items. The museum is open daily. 9 am - 6 pm, Mon-Sat; 1 - 6 pm Sun. Free admission. Parking lot behind the courthouse.

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum


100 Greenlee Street

Bryson City, NC 28713

Phone (828) 488-5200

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum The museum boasts a collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children's activity center. Admission is free with your train ticket; otherwise adults $9; 12 and under $5; under 2 free. Open daily (seasonal hours will change). Not open Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day or New Year's Eve.

Fun Factory in the Smokies


1024 Georgia Rd

Franklin, NC 28734

Phone 828-349-8888

Fax 828-524-8826

A 56,000-square-foot family entertainment center with 100+ arcade games, mini golf, the area’s largest go cart track, bowling, laser tag, pizza buffet, fine dining and more!

Nantahala River Gem Mine

Contact: Brenda Dills


12121 Hwy 19 W

Bryson City, NC 28713

TF 800-468-7238

Fax 828-488-4739

Local 828-488-6345

Gemstone material comes from both the local area, and from mines all over the world. Some gems you may find include rubies, emeralds, sapphires, garnets, topaz, amethyst, rose quartz and many more!

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Contact: Ken Blankenship


Hwy 441 & Drama Rd

Cherokee, NC 28719

Phone 828-497-3481

By combining high-tech wizardry and an extensive artifact collection, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian is fun for the entire family and an exciting, educational event. Open daily at 9 am except closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children, and free for children under age 6.

Cherokee Historical Association


564 Tsali Blvd (HWY 441)

Cherokee, NC 28719

Phone 828-497-2111

Phone 866-554-4557

CHA presents the Oconaluftee Indian Village & the outdoor drama Unto These Hills. Visit the recreated 1750s-era Cherokee Village. Regular tours by Cherokee guides present history, crafts, early homes and demonstrations of beadwork, pottery, blowguns, and much more in a beautiful forest setting. Mid-May through October. Unto These Hills tells the history of the Cherokee people from about 1540 through their forced removal from this area in the late 1830s. June-August; check the website for exact dates. General admission seating.

Stuff and Such


25-29 Main St

Whittier, NC 28789

Phone 828-497-2393

Area artists and crafters, heritage and holiday exhibits, flea market.

Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine


Hwy 441

Cherokee, NC 28719

Phone 828-497-6574

Choose from a wide variety of bags and buckets; all equipment is furnished for free. All gem mining and gold panning troughs are covered and offer seating. Bring your gems to the assay office for identification and then utilize the lapidary and jeweler for polishing and setting. And don't forget to visit the gem, gift, and rock shop before you go. Open year round.

Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians

Contact: Tim Hall


22 Frye Street

Bryson City, NC 28713

Phone 828-488-5705

Phone 828-788-0164

Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians An organization that is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Southern Appalachians through the art of storytelling and the making of crafts. We bring the history of the Southern Appalachians to life.

Santa's Land Fun Park and Zoo

Contact: Linda Torres


571 Wolftown Rd

Cherokee, NC 28719

Phone 828-497-9191

Located 3 miles east of Cherokee on US 19. See Santa and his elves, browse through gift shops and exhibits, and visit the domestic and exotic animals in the zoo. Santa's Land also features rides, picnic facilities, and eating establishments. Open daily 9 am to 5 pm from March 31st through October 31st. $19.99, children under 2 free.

A Blueberry Farm

Contact: John Boaze


25 Water Tower Lane

Whittier, NC 28789

Phone 828-497-7253

Approximately 150 adult bushes provide the majority of the crop, with younger bushes in various stages of development also producing. There are nine varities of blueberries on the farm, ripening from late June through to frost. The farm is primarily a U-Pick field, but orders are taken and filled for those who are not able to pick for themselves. July through September, dawn to dusk.

Cherokee Fun Park

Contact: Laura Jones, GM


1897 Tsali Boulevard

Cherokee, NC 28719

Local 828-497-5877

Indoor arcade with 75+ games in a fun neon atmosphere, GO KARTS - exciting, high speed racing with under and over passes, mini golf 18 hole beautifully landscaped course, 100s of Prizes & Specialty Rides. Fun for everyone...all set in beautiful Cherokee, NC. Birthday & corporate parties available.

Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

Contact: Frankie Reynolds


1028 Georgia Rd

Franklin, NC 28734

Phone 828-524-1598

Phone 866-273-6425

Located in Franklin, NC, this 1,500 seat state-of-the-art facility presents the finest in performing arts to the surrounding towns. Performances will include passion plays, musical productions, professional drama troupes, dance and choral festivals, recitals, and various genres including country, bluegrass, gospel, pop, contemporary Christian and more.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad


226 Everett Street

Bryson City, NC 28713

View Additional Addresses

TF 800-872-4681

Phone 828-488-7000

Scenic rail excursions through a remote corner of North Carolina into river gorges, across valleys and through tunnels carved out of mountains. Excursions include Nantahala Gorge, Dinosaur Train, Polar Express, Mystery Theatre Dinner Train and other themed events. Your excursion includes admission to Smoky Mountains Train Museum, with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children's activity center.

Nantahala Outdoor Center


13077 Hwy 19 W

Bryson City, NC 28713

Local 828-488-6900

TF 800-232-7238

Fax 828-488-0301

Nantahala Outdoor Center Rated "One of the Best Outfitter's on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the Nantahala River, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous Paddling School. There's something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company


1090 West Deep Creek Rd.

Bryson City, NC 28713

Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company Only gem mine in Bryson City. Located at Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground; open April through October. Different size bags of gem dirt for sale at the campground store. Covered flume allows you to mine rain or shine. Who knows what you might find!

Tail of the Dragon


17555 Tapoco Road

Robbinsville, NC 28771

Local 828-498-2888

TF 800-768-7129

Fax 828-479-8400

Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap with 318 curves in 11 miles, is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road. Also known as “US 129,” the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. It is considered “the destination” for thousands of motorcycle and sports car fans throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

The Great Smoky Mountains have been named by Yahoo Travel as one of the Ten Best Spots for Fall Leaf Color in the USA. And how better to see the leaves than on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, chosen by CNN as a great fall foliage train ride.

Other media mentions about Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.